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A $645 Billion Manager Says Calling the Market Bottom Is ‘A Mug’s Game’

Forest Products IIII - 2 hours 38 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus market sell-off is probably past its worst, strategists at Morgan Stanley have said. Jeffrey Gundlach sees bigger losses ahead, while Howard Marks went from bearish to more optimistic in a week.For another veteran investor, calls on whether equities have reached a bottom are nothing short of futile.“I think it’s a mug’s game,” said Hugh Young, head of Asia Pacific at the $644.5 billion manager Aberdeen Standard Investments. “Nobody has the answer.”Shares across the world have recovered some of their losses from the rout spurred by the virus. An index of global equities has risen more than 20% from its low in March, technically entering a bull market, though it’s still down more than 18% this year.For Young, it’s possible markets have reached a bottom, but it’s far too early to say with certainty.“It feels as though this is going to go on for a fair old time,” he said. “And to an extent that must be in prices. But then we’re seeing some quite sharp government action, whether it’s bank dividends or changing rules on loans, foreclosures and all sorts of things. So it’s very hard to be precise.”Young argues that global lenders’ moves to halt dividend payments after pressure from regulators came “slightly out of the blue.” More knock-on effects of the coronavirus crisis are likely, he says, and it’s impossible for them to be fully incorporated in prices.Aberdeen’s flagship Asia Pacific Equity Fund has fallen about 18% this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Over a three-year period, it’s beaten 66% of peers.Young said his cynicism about confident market calls is born out of more than 30 years’ investment experience. Even if someone correctly times the market once, they’re unlikely to repeat the feat, he said. And bottoms, he said, are only easy to identify after the fact.Hindsight Benefit“I’m sure the market bottom, as it always is, will be obvious with hindsight,” he said. “People identify it with one particular thing that it happened to coincide with. Again, in my experience, that’s often not quite right. But it’s an easy explanation for people with hindsight. I’m afraid you never know.”What, then, can an investor such as Young say with confidence? For one, the crisis will last for at least several more months, and many businesses worldwide will come under severe stress. There’s still a lot of pain to come through, Young said.“Our best guess is that this year’s a write-off and then things will normalize at the beginning of next year,” Young said.At current depressed price levels, people should be investing, he said. But there’s a big caveat: only if they have “secure cash flows,” which are much more elusive in the current crisis.Nobody KnowsAnother veteran money manager echoed Young’s view about attempting to call the low, while saying statistically there could be more pain ahead.“No one can know if we are at the bottom in index terms,” said Mark Mobius, who set up Mobius Capital Partners last year after three decades at Franklin Templeton Investments. “We do know that historically for all markets the average bear market decline has been about 50% with a range of 23% to 70%. So if history is our guide, then we could have more to go.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Global Oil Cuts Seen Falling Short and Crashing Prices, ING Says

Forest Products IIII - 3 hours 51 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Oil is set to tumble back toward $20 a barrel as global producers will likely fall short of targeted cuts this week, leaving a supply overhang that will threaten to overwhelm global storage, according to ING Groep NV.Oil giants including Saudi Arabia and Russia are likely only going to be able to cobble together a global agreement to curb 6 million to 7 million barrels a day of supplies, said Warren Patterson, ING’s head of commodities strategy. That’s more than triple what OPEC+ was cutting at the start of this year but is short of the 10 million barrels a day or more that U.S. President Donald Trump proposed last week.It’s also well shy of the loss in demand of about 15 million barrels a day in the second quarter caused by government lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus, Patterson said. Brent crude, which has already plunged 50% this year, will crater further as storage is maxed out.“I’ve been looking at commodity markets now for a little over 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Singapore-based Patterson in a telephone interview. “The scale of demand destruction that we’ve seen in the market is just shocking.”ING, the Amsterdam-based bank that finances commodities across the value chain, sees Brent crude averaging $20 a barrel in the second quarter before rebounding to $45 in the fourth quarter. Futures traded at $33.34 on Thursday.Patterson doesn’t think the U.S. will be given a direct mandate to cut a specific volume because of its antitrust laws, but the country will still contribute output declines as drillers halt activity because of low prices. Russia wants the U.S. to do more than an organic drop in production, but will ultimately accept it as part of a larger agreement, he said.ING sees Saudi Arabia cutting 3 million barrels a day and Russia 1.6 million. Other OPEC members and countries like Canada will contribute enough cuts to get to 6 million to 7 million barrels a day, but Patterson said he doesn’t see a way they can add enough to get to 10 million.Top producers are set to meet on Thursday, followed by a meeting of G-20 energy ministers the following day.Amid the gloominess in markets, Patterson remains constructive on precious metals, with gold seen as having the most upside across the commodities complex in the second quarter. Prices are expected to average at $1,700 an ounce during this period and could even test the previous record of $1,921.17 seen in 2011 in the next two to three months, although it’s unlikely to remain at that level, he said.“We have also seen quite a bit of increased volatility in gold prices over the last month or so, but I don’t think that diminishes its appeal as a safe-haven asset,” said Patterson. “Given the level of uncertainty that we’re currently experiencing and also the fact that if you look around the globe, there’s basically not a central bank which is not easing -- that all sort of has quite supportive fundamentals for gold.”Gold has been on a tear, trading near the highest level in more than seven years, as investors spooked by coronavirus-related market meltdowns and economic angst clamor for the traditional haven. Holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds are at the highest ever, and prospects for the precious metal have also been supported by global stimulus measures aimed at shoring up growth, including the Federal Reserve’s unlimited quantitative-easing program. Spot gold traded at $1,648 an ounce on Thursday and is up almost 9% this year.Patterson also commented on industrial metals and iron ore:Among the base metals, ING is most constructive on nickel due to a growing market deficit as a result of rising demand in the battery sector, and sees an average price of $13,500 a ton by the end of this year.Patterson is bearish on zinc, which he sees averaging at $1,880 a ton over the fourth quarter. Further downside is seen between now and then, with prices expected to drop to $1,800 as smelters maximize refined output due to attractive treatment charges.Iron ore is seen averaging $85 a ton in the second quarter on rising demand in China, but will trend lower to average $75 by the end of year on continued improvement of supply from major producers such as Vale SA.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Rich Asians Face Billions in Losses on Structured Notes

Forest Products IIII - 4 hours 52 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- A popular investment among Asia’s wealthy in the years of rock-bottom interest rates has been upended in the recent market rout, leaving investors facing losses estimated to be in the billions of dollars.Structured products called fixed coupon notes attracted scores of private banking clients in Hong Kong and Singapore in recent years, according to half a dozen bankers and advisers Bloomberg spoke with. Promised regular coupons even in turbulent times, some put 20% or more of their portfolios into the instruments, they said. One catch: the principal was tied to swings in assets like stocks, and losses could mount quickly during deep market declines.About 5%, or more than $80 billion, of Asian private banking assets outside mainland China is probably tied to such notes, estimates University of Hong Kong Professor Dragon Tang. They worked smoothly until Covid-19 struck. The promised payouts have since been dwarfed by capital losses as stocks slid and some leveraged holders were forced out of the illiquid notes. Others are hanging on, hoping a turn in sentiment restores their value.“In a bull market, investors keep collecting coupons on these notes and they feel it’s a great investment,” said Rahul Banerjee, an ex-Standard Chartered banker and founder of BondEvalue, a fintech that offers bond pricing services to investors. “When the market turns, they get stuck with unimaginable losses,” he said, estimating wealthy Asian investors are seeing losses in the billions of U.S. dollars.The products work well in a rising market or one moving sideways, where investors recover the initial investment and the coupon owed, which could be as high as 12% per annum. But the interest-bearing notes, linked to the performance of underlying assets, open holders to the risk of steep losses if those assets fall below a preset level.Margin CallsSome leveraged investors have been forced into selling early at steep discounts, according to investors who asked not to be identified speaking on private matters. The loan-to-value offered for structured products including fixed coupon notes was over 50% on average, the people familiar said, though lending terms are being tightened given recent margin calls.Those that continue to hold the notes may see their investments recoup losses in a market rebound. After sinking 21% in the first quarter, the MSCI World Index has risen about 3% in April.“Investors of structured notes are essentially writing put options,” said Mary Leung, head of advocacy for Asia Pacific, CFA Institute, referring to derivative contracts where the seller agrees to buy an asset at a specified strike price. In Asia, higher retail participation in markets, the difficulty of accessing bonds and the hunt for yield drive the popularity of such products, she said.One Singapore-based financial services professional, who asked to remain anonymous, lost between 30% to 40% of the $400,000 he invested in fixed coupon notes tied to shares including Microsoft Corp., Broadcom Inc. and India’s ICICI Bank Ltd. The notes offered a coupon of about 10%, paid quarterly with a one-year maturity.He sold the investment, which was leveraged up about 60%, prior to maturity after receiving margin calls and deciding he didn’t want the stress of monitoring daily prices and worrying about fresh calls from his bankers.A second investor, who heads a family office in Singapore, said about 10% of his financial holdings were in notes offering yields of between 6% to 12%. Those tied to energy and the automotive sector were in the red at the end of March, he said, though he remained invested in hopes of a recovery over the next few months.Improved DisclosureSuch products don’t offer good risk-adjusted returns, said Professor Tang, who has researched the 2008 implosion of structured notes called Lehman minibonds, which led thousands of Hong Kong investors to protest outside bank branches. Disclosure rules have tightened since then and investors are now better-informed, he said, though there could still be some mis-selling.New rules following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. included narrowing the scope of qualified investors -- who must have about $1 million to invest in Hong Kong and $1.4 million in Singapore -- and categorizing clients into different risk tolerance buckets.“Given the greater risk exposure of fixed coupon notes, we have de-emphasized the product in recent years,” DBS Group Holdings Ltd. said in an emailed response to questions. For clients keen on the product, DBS’s bankers recommend structures which include their high-conviction stock picks or incorporate features that “act as safeguards against outsize losses,” it said.Yield HuntThe attractions of high-yield offerings have been hard to resist. A 2019 report by Asian Private Banker and Julius Baer Group Ltd. showed structured products made up 11% of client portfolios for independent asset managers in 2018, up from 4% the previous year. Some 42% of non-exchange-traded investment transactions were in such products, according to a 2018 survey by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.The hunger for yield will persist as an impending global recession prompts a fresh wave of monetary stimulus and companies slash dividends to preserve capital. “We are seeing a mix of fear of missing out and fear itself -- the allure of an annualized yield of 8% to 10% versus increasing risk aversion,” said CFA Institute’s Leung.About $15 billion to $20 billion of new fixed coupon notes have been issued by private banks in Asia this year, a person with knowledge of the market estimated.In South Korea, complex structured products have gained traction among both the well-heeled and retail investors, driving the total outstanding to 106 trillion won ($87 billion) as of April 1.For banks, it’s a lucrative business. Investment banks make money from structuring the notes and try to manage their exposure by passing the risk on to other parties. The product is then sold by private bankers at the likes of UBS Group AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Plc and DBS. Commissions come from sales to investors and banks can also pitch for additional fees by offering leverage. UBS, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered declined to comment.Such products have “proliferated” in recent years with banks making a strong push as they delivered good revenues, according to Nick Xiao, Hong Kong-based CEO of wealth manager Hywin International. Investors liked the tailored features, he said, adding that as long as the risks are clear there shouldn’t be complaints. “You cry foul when you bought an umbrella but found out it was a walking stick.”Kerry Goh, CEO of multi-family office Kamet Capital Partners, is one investor who’s heeded the risks and stayed away. He says he prefers to put the more than $1 billion his firm manages into investments with more transparent pricing and ease of exit.“While most pitches from our bankers are professional in laying out the returns and risks, we are aware of potential mis-selling, disguising these products as yield-enhancement products.”(Updates with detail on sales in South Korea)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Exxon used economic uncertainty to push for Paulsboro, N.J., contract: sources

Forest Products IIII - 5 hours 41 min ago

Exxon Mobil Corp used economic uncertainty tied to the coronavirus pandemic to urge workers at its lubricants and packaging plant in Paulsboro, New Jersey, to vote for a proposed contract, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Workers at the plant on Wednesday rejected the contract in a 62-11 vote, however, said the two sources. The workers are represented by the Independent Oil Workers union (IOW) in Paulsboro.

Russia, Saudi to debate oil output cuts as U.S. resists joining

Forest Products IIII - 7 hours 27 min ago

OPEC and Russia meet on Thursday to try to agree to record oil output cuts but their efforts to address the slump in prices wrought during the coronavirus pandemic have been complicated by mutual animosity and the reluctance of the United States to join the action. Crude prices have slumped below the cost of production for many producers, including the booming U.S. shale oil industry. U.S. President Donald Trump said last week a deal he had brokered with OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Russia could lead to cuts of as much as 10-15 million barrels per day or 10-15% of global supplies, an unprecedented reduction.

Trump says U.S. producers have already cut back oil production

Forest Products IIII - 8 hours 16 min ago

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday U.S. oil producers have already cut production and he had many options if Saudi Arabia and Russia do not reduce their output when they and other exporters meet on Thursday. "Look, we already cut," Trump told reporters when asked if the United States would consider a coordinated production cut.

Global Oil Deal in Sight After Russia Signals Readiness to Cut

Forest Products IIII - 8 hours 21 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- An unprecedented accord between the world’s largest oil producers to ratchet back production and rescue crude markets from a catastrophic pandemic-driven collapse moved closer within reach after Russia signaled it’s ready to make cuts.Moscow, whose grudge against U.S. shale is arguably the biggest obstacle for a deal to rescue the word’s oil industry from collapse, said Wednesday it’s willing to reduce output by an unprecedented 1.6 million barrels a day, or roughly 15%. Oil prices surged in New York.At stake is the fate of entire oil-dependent economies, thousands of companies and millions of oil industry jobs as the OPEC+ coalition and Group of 20 oil ministers gather in two key video conferences this week. Crude futures have plunged to the lowest levels in two decades as the lockdowns around the world slash oil demand by as much as 70% in some places and Russia and Saudi Arabia battle for their share of a shrinking market.The battle is not won yet, though, as the Kremlin insists the U.S. should do more than just let market forces reduce its record production. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has put huge diplomatic pressure on Russia and Saudi Arabia, while saying America’s cut will happen “automatically” as prices near 18-year lows have put America’s shale patch in dire straits.“I think they’ll straighten it out -- a lot of progress has been made over the past week,” Trump said at a White House briefing Wednesday. “We have a tremendously powerful energy industry in this country now, number one in the world, and I don’t want those jobs being lost.”Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that can boast oil production that’s profitable in the current environment. But the kingdom’s economy is at risk, too, as Riyadh needs much higher crude prices to funds its budget. So does Russia.The two largest oil exporters broke a historic pact to curb production in March, unleashing a flood of crude that’s overwhelming storage facilities worldwide just as the Covid-19 crisis wipes out demand. Russia argued at the time that it wasn’t willing to keep sacrificing production at its companies to prop up prices while shale explorers in the U.S. benefited from the cuts without contributing to them. Moscow hasn’t walked back from that view, but its apparent movement toward a deal after days of intense negotiation coincided with a slew of data showing the decline in oil demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns is deepening. Russia doesn’t have enough storage capacity to keep pumping crude if no one is buying it.While China is expected to ramp up oil processing in April, providing a glimmer of hope to the market, the move likely won’t negate historic declines in the U.S., India and elsewhere.U.S. demand now has fallen to 14.4 million barrels a day, the lowest level in data going back to 1990 and down more than 30% from pre-crisis levels, government figures showed Wednesday. In India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, official data showed demand plunged nearly 18% in March, despite the fact the country went into lockdown only on March 25. And refiners privately said demand was down as much as 70% in early April.The staggering losses, coupled with anecdotal declines of up to 70% in Europe, mean the world may be consuming even less oil than previously thought, traders said. In normal times, the world uses about 100 million barrels a day, but some traders believe it’s consuming just 65 million, or even less.“The demand shortfall, which is much larger than the most optimistic amount of cuts by OPEC++, will eventually push prices lower,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market at consultant Rystad Energy.The diplomatic wrangling between the world’s top oil producers had intensified on Wednesday before Russia’s statement on a possible production cut.The Kremlin said that Russia does not consider a supply reduction based on falling demand or lower prices to be a real output cut. It was the first statement from Moscow about this crucial aspect of the talks and indicated that President Vladimir Putin may be expecting a more significant contribution from the U.S. than his counterpart Trump is willing to give.“You are comparing the overall demand drop with cuts aimed at stabilizing the global market,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at his daily conference call, when asked if Russia would accept U.S. production cuts driven only by market forces. “These are completely different things.”Washington has so far pointed to the reduction of U.S. production that’s expected as companies from Exxon Mobil Corp. to independent shale explorers slash spending in response to low prices. This process could remove a sizable amount of oil from the market, but it would happen only gradually and only if prices stay low.Also see: U.S. Price-Driven Cuts Are Lose-Lose for OPEC+: Oil StrategyBeyond the role of the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia haven’t yet agreed on how to distribute output curbs among each OPEC+ country, people with knowledge of discussion said, asking not to be named discussing diplomatic negotiations. Neither have they agreed on the baseline for the reductions.“It’s resolvable -- the overwhelming likelihood is it gets resolved by tomorrow,” Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. said Wednesday. “It’s a negotiation: Somebody has to change their position, or there’s got to be a meeting in the middle. I don’t see the gain for anyone of not having an agreement.”West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, surged as much as 12% after Russia signaled its willingness to cut production. The grade closed 6.2% higher at $25.09 a barrel. It’s still down by almost 60% for the year.With Trump pressing hard for a deal, and the whole Group of 20 involved too, a lot is riding on this week’s negotiations. OPEC+ will convene a conference at 4 p.m. Vienna time on Thursday, by video link. Saudi Arabia will lead a virtual conference of G-20 energy ministers the following day at 3 p.m. Riyadh time.As demand for gasoline, diesel and jet-fuel plunges, refiners around the world are cutting the amount of crude they process, in turn reducing their purchases. On Wednesday, more refiners cut rates by around 30%, including HollyFrontier Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. Lower crude demand means barrels are diverted into tanks and oil tankers transformed into floating storage facilities.The most shocking drop in U.S. consumption was concentrated on gasoline, long the fuel that powered the American way of life. The Energy Information Administration said a proxy for gasoline demand fell to 5.06 million barrels a day, the lowest since weekly data is available starting in 1990. Separate monthly data suggests the U.S. may have not consumed so little gasoline anytime since 1969, the year of the moon landings.If Russia, OPEC and the G-20 can make a deal, it could result in a historic reduction of about 10% of global supply, or about 10 million barrels a day, dwarfing any previous market interventions. That’s something that the physical market for crude -- trade in actual cargoes rather than futures contracts -- needs immediately.Yet, traders and consultants are worried any deal between OPEC+ and the G-20 would end in a fudge, removing far less crude from the market than the headline cut of 10 million barrels a day suggests. In a note to clients that echoed the view of many in the market, Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd., asked whether the talks would culminate in “fake deal.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB)

Forest Products IIII - 8 hours 25 min ago

Coronavirus is probably the 1 concern in investors' minds right now. It should be. On February 27th we published an article with the title Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW. We predicted that a US recession is imminent and US stocks will go down by at least 20% in the next 3-6 […]

Oil Extends Rally as Producers Close In on Deal to Cut Output

Forest Products IIII - 9 hours 3 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Crude extended gains in Asia after Russia said that it was prepared to reduce output to help stabilize the market before a meeting of top producers later on Thursday.Futures in New York rose as much as 6.1%, after gaining 6.2% on Wednesday. A global supply-curb agreement may be sealed at the OPEC+ emergency virtual meeting on Thursday after Russia said that it is ready to cut oil production by 1.6 million barrels a day, or about 15%. A “massive output reduction” would be discussed, said the energy minister of Algeria, which holds OPEC’s rotating presidency, amid persistent doubts that cuts will be enough to offset the unprecedented demand destruction caused by the spread of coronavirus.G20 energy ministers will meet remotely on Friday to discuss broader measures to steady the market. India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, is set to snap up millions of barrels of Middle East crude for its strategic reserves, according to officials with knowledge of the matter, even though demand has collapsed 70% as the country endures the world’s biggest national lockdown.“This meeting will be an important opportunity to assess impacts on global energy markets and reassure both markets and energy consumers,” Australia’s Energy Minister Angus Taylor, who will attend Friday’s meeting, said in an emailed statement.U.S. cooperation is seen key to unlocking OPEC+ supply curbs, and the Energy Information Administration on Tuesday cutting its 2020 production forecast by more than 1 million barrels a day has helped to smooth the path. Still, Moscow remains skeptical about the U.S. commitment, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that Russia does not consider a supply reduction driven by falling demand or lower prices to be a real output cut.Oil gained even after the U.S. EIA reported a 15.2 million barrel weekly increase in crude stocks, the biggest gain in data going back to 1982.Despite gains in the futures market, physical prices continue to fall as refineries cut processing rates and purchases. North American landlocked crudes are fetching ever lower prices, with grades in the U.S. Bakken region back beneath $10 and oil in Canada at a record low.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Stock market news live updates: Stock futures edge lower after Wednesday's rally

Forest Products IIII - 9 hours 24 min ago

Stock futures opened lower Wednesday evening, taking a pause after the regular session’s rally sent both the S&P 500 and Dow up more than 3.4%.

Costco's March same-store sales jump as coronavirus triggers surge in buying

Forest Products IIII - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 23:20

U.S. comparable sales rose 10.7% for five weeks ended April 5, while e-commerce sales surged 48.3%, Costco said in a statement. "Costco's March sales results reflect the impact of the various safety measures the company has put in place in reaction to the coronavirus," Moody's lead Costco analyst Charlie O'Shea said. The company saw a 34.7% rise in traffic in the second week of March from a year earlier, just as Sam's Club, Target Corp and Walmart Inc clocked double-digit jumps, according to foot traffic analytics company Placer.ai.

Volcker recession-like coronavirus impact could set up 'multi-million' job gains: Goldman

Forest Products IIII - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 23:13

Goldman Sachs wrote April 8 that the coronavirus-related shut down appears similar to the "man-made" recession of 1981-1982, leaving open the possibility of "multi-million job gains" in the recovery.

'The Next Big Thing': How Cannabigerol (CBG) May Revolutionize the Cannabis industry

Forest Products IIII - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 22:18

First discovered in the 1960s, Cannabigerol (CBG), a once rare, non-psychoactive molecule from which hundreds of other cannabinoids are derived, recently gained momentum as more companies and brands like Avicanna Inc. (OTC: AVCNF) learn of the molecule's therapeutic benefits in over-the-counter and pharmaceutical applications.According to recent investigations by Avicanna, CBG has similar properties to CBD, acting as a competitive partial agonist for cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and immune cells.In a comment on the molecule, Avicanna CEO Aras Azadian said: "We know through our own research that CBG has a higher affinity to the endocannabinoid system (EDC) receptors and is showing significant potential in many disease areas."In testing, the molecule acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial agent that regulates mood and mitigates disease-related pain. Despite CBG's immense benefits, many firms find it difficult to produce, given that it is rarely expressed in common cultivars."It takes thousands of pounds of biomass to create small amounts of CBG isolate," said Steve's Goods CEO James Rowland to Forbes. "That's because most hemp only contains minute percentages of CBG, whereas there are now hemp strains that contain 20% CBD in the crop. If the CBG content of the same crop is only 1%, that means you need to extract 20 times the amount of biomass to get the same amount of CBG out."Testing Breeds Results Innovative breeding techniques have led to optimized cultivars including those with significantly higher amounts of rare cannabinoids. Companies that have been able to successfully bring to market solutions include American Hempseed, which recently announced an offer of certified feminized seeds with 15% CBG and compliant THC levels to global markets and farmers."Years of breeding excellence has allowed us to breed out THC levels, and increase the levels of CBG in what is now a stabilized genetic ready for the 2020 harvest," said AHS representative Stuart Matthews.In total, armed with industry-wide research and advancements spearheaded by firms such as AHS, farmers will better be able to act on recent regulatory evolution and prevailing industry sentiment to plant genetically superior hemp seeds, and cultivate at large scale.Navigating Tumultuous Times With firms like Avicanna and American Hempseed helping democratize cannabis-specific farming and improve accessibility to medically life-changing cannabinoids, concerns have been shifted to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus.In short, the crisis has prompted mass layoffs and business closures, forcing unemployment claims in excess of 6 million.Restaurant and business owners like Jeremy Sasson, have laid off many workers, and closed venues completely."We found ourselves in a position where, two weeks prior to these transitions, we were already seeing sales compression," Sasson said."We had to lay off hundreds of team members and furlough many others."Despite the recent developments, cannabis demand has persisted, with states like Illinois running into a supply crunch."The demand we are seeing in our Illinois Sunnyside stores is very strong--on par with what we were seeing at the launch of recreational sales in January, but because of the social distance process we have implemented, we are not able to meet that consumer demand on a daily basis," said Jason Erkes, a Cresco Labs Inc. (OTC: CRLBF) spokesman.The demand pop is a relief to farmers as planting season nears. Premium seed suppliers such as American Hempseed are already seeing an increased interest in CBG seeds, and as a boost, Avicanna will actively offer its Cannabinoid API which includes finished white-label and bulk formulation products.The potential for new revenue streams in the cannabis value chain exists in cannabinoids such as CBG. These cannabinoids will provide farmers, brands and retailers the ability to deliver better consumer and medical solutions in the dermatological, gastroenterological, and mental health areas.For more information visit https://americancbgseeds.com.Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem from Pexels.See more from Benzinga * 10 Pitches From Leading Cannabis Companies On Their Vision, Brands(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

JPMorgan Fires Credit Trader and Cuts Staff Bonuses for WhatsApp Use

Forest Products IIII - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 22:16

(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. punished more than a dozen traders for using WhatsApp at work, firing one and cutting bonus payments for the rest.Edward Koo, who had spent almost 20 years at the firm and was put on leave in January, was formally dismissed after JPMorgan concluded he broke company rules by creating a WhatsApp group and using it to discuss market chatter with other trading employees, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Koo traded corporate bonds and credit derivatives. The cut to bonuses sparked outrage among subordinates who followed Koo’s lead in using the channel, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment. Koo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Messages on the WhatsApp service are encrypted from start to finish, and can’t easily be monitored by Wall Street firms’ compliance departments, a problem for companies that need to make sure their employees aren’t engaging in illegal activity such as fraud or insider trading.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. senator to liquidate individual stock shares after coronavirus flap

Forest Products IIII - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 22:07

U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler said on Wednesday she would liquidate her individual stock share positions after the wealthy Republican and her husband were criticized over sales of millions of dollars in stock during the coronavirus outbreak. Loeffler, who was appointed to her Senate seat in January by Georgia's governor, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. In a Wall Street Journal opinion column on Wednesday, Loeffler said she was not changing her investment strategy because she has to.


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by Dr. Radut